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Keno Legal in California, Only At California Lottery

The Supreme Court in California had banned the game of keno about 20 years ago, but you can still play it at California Lottery.

Keno in CA lottery

 About the ban

The California Supreme Court had imposed a ban on the game of keno citing that it was a banked game and not a lottery game. The ruling also stated that the machines used for keno resembled slot machines, which were also illegal in the state of California.

The ban not in resulted in revenue loss for California Lottery but the state also lost in getting its share of revenue.

Hotspot keno

However, lottery officials were not going to take the loss of revenue lightly. They found a way to reintroduce the game, but by using legal means. It was a new form of keno, which took out all elements from its setup that the court had deemed illegal. They decided to present the new game proposal in the court within a few months of the ban.

First step was to devise a new way to give prizes. They stopped giving fixed prize money and instead, a new system of offering prize was introduced where the prize money was calculated as a percentage of the total bets.

Second step was to rename the game as keno was now associated as a banned lottery game and would not find new players with ease. A new name, Hotspot was given to it, which suited fine as the game was now fast-paced.

This new game of keno was essentially a Super Lotto game that offered prizes every few minutes. The best thing for the lottery people was that the new game was now completely legal and could be played without any repercussions from the court.

Given the fact that lottery brings millions of revenues to the state, the court had no problem ruling in favour of California Lottery and Hotspot since the game was modified according to the legal framework.

It is a wonder however, that when California Lottery found a way around the ban, why didn’t more lottery operators or casinos follow suit?